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Role of reelin in neural migration

A radial glial cell (yellow) sends out a process towards a stripe (red) that contains the extracellular protein reelin. The group is studying reelin effects on neuronal migration and found out that reelin is important for the formation of a radial glial scaffold guiding migrating neurons.



Fine structure of synapses

The figure shows a synapse in the hippocampus. Synapses are specialized contacts between nerve cell processes serving information transfer. The group employs 3D reconstruction to monitor synaptic structure and immunogold labelling to localize molecules involved in synaptic transmission.


Hippocampal circuitry

The figure shows an original diagram of the hippocampus by Camillo Golgi. As can be seen, the hippocampus consists of single layers of principle neurons, pyramidal cells and granule cells, rendering this brain structure suitable for studies of the development, organization and plasticity of neuronal networks. The research at the institute takes advantage of acute slices and organotypic cultures of hippocampus to study excitatory and inhibitory neurons and their synaptic interactions.


Metabotrobic Receptors and
Ion Channels

Neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels play an important role in synaptic integration of nerve cells. The impact of these proteins on synaptic responses is largely dependent on their spatial distribution and density relative to synaptic sites in somato-dendritic compartmens and, in case of ion channels, on the subunit composition of the individual channels, which determines the properties of single channels. Our current and future interest is to understand the role of G protein-coupled receptors (primarily the metabotropic GABAB and glutamate receptors), voltage-activated, and inward rectifying ion channels in synaptic transmissions on principal cells and inhibitory interneurons by determining their subcellular distribution and density in relation to inhibitory and excitatory synapses. To achieve these goals, high-resolution immunocytochemical methods (pre- and postembedding immunogold and SDS-digested freeze-fracture labeling techniques) will be applied in combination with quantification of gold particle density.



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